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Photos taken by refugees of their living conditions in the Australian detention camp on Manus Island have led to a new round of “systematic assault on asylum seekers’ basic rights”, according to Refugee Action Coalition spokesperson Nick Riemer.

Sydney-based Kinetic Energy Theatre Company's team of six actors performed their show about the Australian 1965 “freedom ride” at Sydney University on December 14. The performance was part of a conference organised by the Aboriginal Studies Association and attended by teachers and Aboriginal counsellors from all over NSW.

Tens of thousands of supporters gathered in Caracas today for a huge rally in support of Venezuela's ill President Hugo Chavez. The gathering was in response to the controversy surrounding his absence on January 10, the date set for his inauguration day after he was re-elected for a new six-year term in October.

A selection of this week's celebrity news...

Kyle XY's Matt Dallas comes out and announces he's engaged. http://eonli.ne/XfcVeU

NBC Bosses Admit to Talking Donald Trump Out of Presidential Race. http://eonli.ne/Ux6Z3U

Charlie Sheen Kisses Porn Star Gal-Pal Georgia Jones in Mexico. http://eonli.ne/UpPdiV

Princess Diana Picture Decreed "Not to Be Published" Surfaces, Isn't Very Scandalous At All. http://eonli.ne/WsNCUj

Gérard Depardieu Granted Russian Citizenship by Vladimir Putin Following French Tax Row. http://eonli.ne/UgyWwN

Recent moves by the Greens leadership to moderate some of their policies have opened up an important debate within the party regarding its future. Below is one contribution to the debate from a group of Greens members which points to "a worrying trend" emerging from within the Greens leadership. They argue “now is the time for members and sympathisers to confront these issues head on".

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The Australian Socialist Alliance released this statement on January 4.

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The Socialist Alliance stands in solidarity with the growing movement in India fighting violence against women. Progressive forces in that country have braved police brutality and repression, mobilising massive turnouts at protests against gender violence.

The wave of protests was sparked by the horrific rape on December 15, and the consequent death, of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi.

The statement below was released n December 24, condemning the culture of impunity for rape as well as opposing the death penalty for perpetrators as a solution. It is reprinted from KAFILA.org. See also the article by Kavita Krishnan (a signatory to this statement) on the explosion of protests defending 'a women's right to freedom without fear'.

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This statement was released by the NSW Fire Brigade Employees Union.

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The NSW O’Farrell Government’s June Budget imposed across-the-board cuts to the public sector wages bill by 1.2%, with Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) being hit with a larger cut amounting to 1.75% – higher even than many clerical agencies.

In the midst of the unspeakable horror of a rape and attempted murder in Delhi [since the article was written, the victim has died in hospital] is a spark of hope that we nurture, cradling it with our hands lest it be snuffed out, helping the spark to grow into a steadier flame – and then spread into a forest fire.

A young woman, a 23-year-old student of physiotherapy, boarded a bus in Delhi with a male friend. They were alone on the bus but for a group of men, who began taunting the woman for being out at night with a man.

Is there any reason for a revolutionary to watch a fantasy movie like The Hobbit? Activists and radicals, perhaps more than anyone, must live in the real world.

Uninterested in escaping from the struggles of life, a radical mind sees real social situations brimming with injustice to be fought and wants to do something about it. Perhaps this is why there are not too many fantasy writers among the literary heroes of the radical left. We tend to favour poignant and sensual descriptions of real world conditions.

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